Building a world where our investment’s can do good and do well.
The last few years has seen a rise in young investors. This is due to a number of factors, but the pandemic has also been a catalyst for this, as many Millennials and Gen-Z-ers have been the hardest hit from covid-19 in terms of job losses and financial stability.
The start of Extinction Rebellion in 2018 has also harnessed the passionate energy of many of these young people towards tackling climate change and applying pressure on governments to take action.
During this project I sought to combine these seemingly diametrically opposed interests. I started to pose the question; can we do well and do good with our investments?
Team & Roles
This was a project I submitted as part of the practical section of the UX nanodegree with Udacity. I conducted the user research and testing sessions myself which informed the development of the product.
To focus on creating a great product which disrupts the investment industry and reshapes capitalism to drive real change I chose to answer the following two questions;
1. How might we make investing appeal to a younger, more diverse and gender neutral target audience?
2. How might we build an app which would allow more people’s investments and pension funds to do good and to do well?
November 2020 – February 2021
App prototype in Figma, Miro product development board and hand over files in Zeplin.
Step 1: Understanding the context and audience.
Step 2: User research.
Step 3: Ideate & test.
Step 4: Design & iteration.
To understand if this idea had legs I put out a survey. With the type of questions I asked – I tried to gauge how interested people are in investing, how conscious they are of their own carbon footprint and how these two marry up.
- Age: 18 – 30 – 45.6%
- Gender: Male – 64.9%
- 77.2% Invest Online
- 33.3% Invest monthly
- 15.8% Invest less between £100 – £500
- 24.6% Invest in Stocks
- 21.1% Invest in ISA’s
Said thay you can make a good financial return with impact investing
Said they would invest with an impact investment app
Said they had ever tried carbon offsetting
Designing for humans
I selected 10 participants (only 5 were interviewed in the end) for an interview to gather in-depth qualitative data around their investing habits and behaviours.
60% of participants didn’t know what they were investing into.
80% of participants have attempted to learn about investing outside of their investing platform.
100% of participants said that there is a huge lack of awareness around investing.
For each interview I noted down key observations they made and grouped them into themes and sub-themes which I then grouped into potential opportunities and features for the app.
From these potential opportunities translated each into a feature idea along with a ‘how might we…’ question and some basic sketches translating the idea into an interface. I plotted each idea on feature prioritization matrix to help me work out which idea would bring the most value to my potential user compared to it’s complexity.
The two features I sought to implement were;
1. Investing tool.
2. Eco Alternative Snow Flake Analysis.
Individual Stocks Vs Themed Portfolios
With the rise of investing apps brought the ability for investors to buy partial share in individual stocks. I wasn’t sure whether a users would prefer having the ability to invest in individual stocks vs having themed portfolios picked for them. I found it tricky to find reliable data on this so I took a look at my survey results.
14% of participants invested in individual stocks.
42% of participants had themed portfolios.
Investing in Individual Stocks
I chose to create a wireframe and quick prototype for each route and test each route with users to also see how they perform. I based this experience design on common heuristics of stock trading apps and set a task for the users to complete which was to select a stock to invest in and invest £100.
For this route I created a flow which allowed user to select from a range of themed portfolios and also to customise their portfolios by selecting sub themes. This meant if a user didn’t want to invest in, for example, ‘Renewable Energy Theme’ they could invest their money in solar power as a sub theme but also ‘Inclusive Finance’ or ‘Circular Economy’, etc as additional sub-themes if they so wished.
I found through this A/B test that participants were quicker at completing the task with the themed portfolio route and found it more enjoyed the process. As the theme portfolio route seemed to be the most popular through the survey and the user test I opted to go work bring this model into my design.
Iterating and iterating again.
As the themed portfolio model seemed to be successful I developed the UI kit of the prototype and made the detailing of the app more life like (including company logo, terminology, etc). I then ran some more user test sessions. I even used user zoom which user test candidates from around the world.
User Test 1 (Key Insights)
– Communicate what the app is about with a tagline and illustration on the opening / sign up page.
– Improve visual and text hierarchy: some buttons were confused with body copy and vice versa.
– Improve fidelity and interactivity with adding horizontal and vertical scrolling and slider buttons.
– Certain pages such as Risk needs improved iconography and visual language as some users got stuck with these.
User Test 2 (Key Insights)
– Colour hierarchy not accessible enough as some buttons were missed. Use WebAIM colour contrast checker to improve.
– Button, body, small and bold font need to be bigger as most participants struggled to read.
– I needed to rethink schedule deposit page as button placement doesn’t follow logical order and most participants struggled with this.
The outcome was a mobile app with a modern UI design, a memorable brand and slick user experience. The main focus of the platform was to bring impact investing to a younger and more diverse audience than the usual investing ensemble.
This app allows you to choose an investing themes or you can customise your portfolio by adding assets from different impact areas. It allows the investor to track the performance of their assets minute by minute, customise their portfolio and keep up to date with investing using the news feed, etc.